Flourless Chocolate Cake

Ok, I realize the first 2 nights of Passover have come and gone… but that doesn’t mean we cannot talk about this better-than-I-could-have-ever-imagined Passover dessert! For anyone out there that has attempted to bake something delicious without flour… well, you feel my pain. Every year I attempt a new cake and although I have seen noticeably better results in recent years, I had yet to be wowed. This year I took the plunge into the world of flourless chocolate cakes and wow (finally), this dessert forever changed my opinion of what a Passover dessert SHOULD taste like.

Light, rich and moist, this cake is best described as tasting like decadent brownie batter… only better. First things first, a ton of silky chocolate gets melted and combined with a whole lot of butter. Add this wonderful velvety chocolate sauce to some whipped up egg yolks and sugar and the cake starts to take shape. Whip up even more egg whites into a fluffy meringue and gently fold into the chocolate egg yolk mixture. Coat the entire thing in a rich chocolate ganache and press chopped pecans around the sides and voilà… you got yourself a cake.

Everyone at the seder table gave it a thumbs up and my little (adorable) niece, Tali, ate every morsel of chocolate placed in front of her… with the exception of what was smeared on her face of course!

Happy Pesach!

Cake:
10 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, diced

10 large egg yolks
1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
9 large egg whites

Ganache:
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups pecans, toasted, coarsely chopped

Whipped cream (optional)

For cake:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter 10-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper round. Place chocolate and 1 1/4 cups butter in medium metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water; stir until mixture is melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over water; cool to lukewarm, about 10 minutes.

Using electric mixer, beat egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl until very thick and pale yellow in color, about 5 minutes. Beat in vanilla and salt. Gently fold chocolate mixture into yolk mixture. Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites and remaining 6 tablespoons sugar in another large bowl until peaks form. Fold 1/3 of beaten whites into chocolate mixture. Fold in remaining whites in 2 additions. Transfer batter to prepared pan.

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 45 minutes (cake will be puffed and soufflé-like while baking). Cool cake in pan on rack 15 minutes (cake will fall in center). Run knife around cake sides to loosen; press edge of cake down to make level with center. Remove pan sides and cool cake completely. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and store at room temperature.

For ganache:
Combine chocolate and cream in medium metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water and stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Remove bowl from over water; let stand until ganache cools slightly but is still pourable, about 5 minutes.

Place cooled cake on rack set over rimmed baking sheet. Pour 1/2 cup ganache over top of cake. Using offset spatula, quickly spread ganache over top and sides of cake. Freeze cake 3 minutes. Pour remaining ganache over top of cake. Working quickly but gently and grasping pan bottom and rack together, slightly tilt rack with cake from side to side, allowing ganache to flow evenly over top and down sides of cake; smooth sides with offset spatula. Press pecans onto sides of cake to adhere. Chill cake until ganache is set, about 1 hour. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and keep refrigerated. Let stand at room temperature 45 minutes before serving.

Cut cake into wedges. Garnish with whipped cream.

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